Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian forces of booby-trapping the bodies of the dead with mines and trip wires as they pull back from the outskirts of Kyiv.
In his nightly video address to the nation, Mr Zelensky said retreating Russian forces are creating “a complete disaster” as they leave sow mines across “the whole territory”, even around homes and corpses.
Russia continued withdrawing some of its ground forces from areas around Kyiv after saying earlier this week it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv.
“They are mining the whole territory. They are mining homes, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed,” Mr Zelensky said.
“There are a lot of trip wires, a lot of other dangers.”
Ukrainians retake territory
He urged residents to wait to resume their normal lives until they were assured the mines had been cleared and the danger of shelling had passed.
While the Russians kept up their bombardment around Kyiv and Chernihiv, Ukrainian troops exploited the pullback on the ground by mounting counterattacks and retaking a number of towns and villages.
Still, Ukraine and its allies warned that the Kremlin is not de-escalating to promote trust at the bargaining table, as it claimed, but instead resupplying and shifting its troops to the country’s east.
Those movements appear to be preparation for an intensified assault on the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas region in the country’s east, which includes the battered and besieged city of Mariupol.
Zelensky warned of difficult battles ahead as the Russians redeployed troops. “We are preparing for an even more active defence,” he said.
He did not say anything about the latest round of talks, which took place Friday by video.